Top five watering holes: Badr Benjelloun

Part six of a series on where Beijing residents enjoy a beverage (or two). This round is with entrepreneur, IT specialist, and former full-time bartender Badr Benjelloun.

“Beijing has changed a lot over the past few months and the Olympics have left a scar on the face of the city’s drinking establishments. However, some bars / restaurants have managed to consistently get my patronage.

1. Salud: I’ve been going there over the past few months quite consistently. I love the atmosphere, the homemade rum, and the mix of locals and expats. It’s a bit of a pain to get there from my area but completely worth it. Add the great environment in Nanluoguxiang, with the hutongs and the locals, and you get a great experience!

2. The Rickshaw: Yes, they have a few service problems but overall that’s been the place that got most of my drinking moolah the past few years. I know almost everyone in there and it makes it comfortable. It’s my local basically! The grub is nice and they still make great quesadillas and serve one hell of a stiff drink. The owner, Kris, has been around for a while in the Beijing scene and deserves a lot of credit. The current manager, Andy, bends backwards to make sure everyone is happy.

3. Peter’s Tex Mex: A bit weird to include this one in my list of watering holes, but when I want good value, this is where I go. Best Tex-Mex in Beijing bar none and they have a great selection of wines at prices slightly above supermarket rates. The staff is friendly, the place is clean, and it’s a nice quiet hideaway.

4. Wain Wain: One of the city’s best-kept secrets. Hard to beat for a little mid-week beverage overlooking the city lights in a cosy environment. They have practically doubled their prices for the Olympics but still run some pretty good specials.

5. Kokomo and Q Bar: These two are tied because they are the only two places to make a decent Mai Tai which is one of my two favorite drinks. Kokomo even offers two varieties, an authentic one and a Hawaii Mai Tai. Q makes a hybrid Mai Tai that just rocks and had they managed to keep their patio opened longer, they would be in sole possession.

Posthumous mention: Maggie’s. Spare me the jokes here! Despite the shady nature of the establishment, they offered a great mix of atmosphere and DJing night in and night out! The cocktails were solid and affordable when compared to some of these new places opening left and right.


Elisabeth Tchoudjinoff & Katrina Arndt, designers
Paul Adkins, entrepreneur
Chandler Jurinka, Local Noodles
Kevin Shen
, T3 Terminal
Steven Schwankert, SinoScuba

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